Beer Industry Focuses on Hurricane Harvey Relief
Beer Industry Focuses on Hurricane Harvey Relief

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Beer Industry Focuses on Hurricane Harvey Relief

by Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute President and CEO

The devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana over the past two weeks has proven heartbreaking, but it has also shown the very best of our country with neighbors helping neighbors, strangers traveling hundreds of miles to aid in rescue operations and millions across the nation donating supplies and funds to help survivors rebuild.

The effects of Hurricane Harvey will be felt for years, and rebuilding will require dedication and focus from local, state and the federal government as well as private sector partners.

I’m proud that the Beer Institute’s members jumped into action to help with immediate Harvey relief and are committed to continuing these efforts. Together, our members have sent more than one million cans of water to Texas and Louisiana, pausing beer production at some plants to produce and ship water from as far away as Shenandoah. This water is being used at Red Cross and other emergency shelters, guaranteeing safe drinking water for those displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Of course, getting this water to the areas that need it most is a challenge unto itself. Our members coordinated with local officials and other relief organizations to ensure that delivery trucks of this water made it to stricken areas. In the process, our members coordinated with FEMA and the city of Houston to assist evacuees from George Bush Intercontinental Airport and its surrounding shelters.

And, our members have already begun looking forward to the realities of rebuilding. MillerCoors set up a Red Cross microsite and has mobilized hundreds of local employees and distributors to help those affected by the hurricane. These efforts and direct contributions from MillerCoors resulted in to well over $100,000 going directly to the Red Cross. In addition, MillerCoors collected food, clothes and other supplies that will go to local charities. Anheuser-Busch activated the company’s Employee Sponsored Disaster Relief Fund, through which the company and its employees can donate funds to provide grants to employees affected by the hurricane. Heineken USA is coordinating a clothing and supply drive to help those who have lost a significant amount of personal property in the storm.

Similarly, our members have donated millions to this effort through direct pledges and employee matches. Constellation Brands contributed $100,000 to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund in addition to a 2:1 donation match for its employees, while Anheuser-Busch alone donated $1 million to the American Red Cross as part of the American Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). Revolver Brewing in Texas, which has already sent fleets of delivery trucks to Houston to deliver emergency water, will release a golden ale in the coming weeks with all profits from sales of the draft-only beer to go to the American Red Cross and select local charities, earmarked for disaster-relief efforts

Beyond donations and immediate support, our companies are also looking to the long term economic health of Houston. Heineken USA is identifying a potential Heineken Cities project in the Houston area and is developing an employee project that assists in hurricane relief to occur during its National Distributor Conference in Texas this October.

Of course, there is still much work to do. As an American, I am immensely proud of the courageous acts of kindness we have seen in the face of this tragedy. I am equally as proud that our members have stepped up to provide aid and comfort.

Disasters such as this demand attention from all of us, including long after flood waters have receded. And, our members will remain committed to the relief efforts along the Texas Gulf Coast as well as any need there might be once Hurricane Irma makes landfall in the U.S.

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